My Year in Review 2019

Year in Review. Butterfly breakdown embroidery and paint on linen by Ngaio Blackwood

I wrote ‘my year in review 2018’ and I never ended up publishing it. Looking back over a year I always see how much I’ve accomplished. I’m not standing still. I started writing this in a chronological way and I was bored before I’d even published this. So I’ve redesigned it into four different sections. Things to stop doing, things to start doing, things to give away, things to keep doing. Also, my 2020 say yes to list.

Things to start doing

Have guilt-free creation time for making things for family, friends, myself and our home. This sounds easier than it is. I love making things for other people and the act of creating gifts by hand is something that I love. I don’t always give myself the time to do this. I’m started off the year with a bang 2 baby booties, barefoot lace decoration for my Brothers fiance and a ‘just married’ embroidered jacket. Stay tuned for this to be shown on my Instagram when they are complete. A project I’d love to create for me is a handmade quilt using traditional techniques, I’m thinking a throw to snuggle under for the couch.

Work in a series. Finish a small series of work, make it available to purchase and repeat. I don’t know why but this has been crazy hard to commit to. I have so many ideas of series of work but finish almost none.

Things to stop, finish or let go of

The poem ‘She let go’ inspires me to let go of expectations and guilt.

I like to listen to an audio version of this when I need a pick me up. I don’t always know how to ‘let go’ but listening to this poem still helps. Here is a link to an audio version of She Let Go

I first heard this poem in 2017. But something that has been a theme during this year and in 2018. It’s hard to let go, I’ve felt like I could do better in lots of areas of my life but I’ve also been trying to not beat myself up about things outside of my control. After being at the physio for neck/shoulder pain for over a year. Being currently pain-free is not something I’m able to take for granted yet. I still have relapses every week when I get stressed which are not even on the scale of what I was dealing with before but it’s made me really feel what it’s like to not let go. I find ways to manage my health so I don’t get to that place again. Yoga has helped. I’ve probably done every upper back yoga on Youtube!. I recommend Yoga with Adriene for an accessible home yoga practice focused on alignment and gentle progress. I aim to let go of stress which does not serve me.

I’ve pulled back from social media this year. I’m trying to really let go of the numbers around social media and just concentrate on the connections I’m able to make. If I’m posting on there I want it to be a contribution that helps my goals as a person and an artist. My goal is to be intentional with my time. Posting every day is no longer a thing I feel like I need to do. When I post I want to know why I’m posting it and what I want to share with doing so.

My 100 days project was good and bad. I haven’t finished it yet so that isn’t ideal but I really enjoyed a lot of the work I did for it so that was good. I think I will complete the project eventually. I love these sorts of regular projects and get a lot of out of them.

Things to give away

I have a box of artwork under my work desk. I really need to clear out my studio and I think I’ll just give some of it away. My plan will be to give them away via my mailing list so stay tuned I’ll announce these giveaways via Instagram and my waiting list.

Things to keep doing.

At the start of the year, I made some really cute tiny drawings of islands and watercolour splotches which have sparked a new body of fine artwork. These felt very successful to me. I’d like to develop more of this idea.

I was thinking the other day that if I won the lottery or if I was told that I had only a few years to live. What would I do differently? Other than spending time with my family I would just create a lot of art. I’ve had a struggle with painting over the years. I love the process of painting but I’ve found myself constantly questioning why am I choosing that colour or this motif or subject matter? It was like I was frozen, I couldn’t paint because I was overthinking it.

I don’t want to jinx it but I think I’ve made a breakthrough. I always knew that the process was really important to me. I’ve felt like I’ve had breakthroughs with my creative process before and then after a bit it didn’t feel like it was enough. Of course, you don’t just have one creative breakthrough but many over the course of your life. I’ll enjoy the feeling of making a leap until it feels stagnant again. I’m painting over, I’m sanding back, I’m using transparent paint. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out but at the moment I’m happy with it. I’m building up to something which makes sense so when someone asks me why did you… I can answer that question. I couldn’t really before. All I know is transparency is important, building up layers is important and building up a form or structure using the idea of an island is important. Blue, green, pink and white are important. The idea of home is very important.

Combining drawing, paint and embroidery is an interesting challenge and I like the way it looks. I’ve finished up the year with my final piece being a little stitched house portrait of our blue home. I’m looking forward to some little stitched buildings in my future.

Art Review. Custom ultrasound embroidery
Ultrasound embroidery

At the start of 2019, I stitched my son’s ultrasound picture and it was very popular on Instagram. This has been one of the most rewarding pieces I’ve ever made, that moment in time when he came into the world was so intense and I wanted something visual to remember it by. I’ve done a bit of working on my work stuff this year and I’ve come to realise that memory and connection might be an important part of my work so it’s no surprise that for me this piece made an impact. Later in the year I also stitched/painted a moon in the phase of my sons birth time. Maybe I’m stuck 5 years in the past but I think it’s more of a celebration of him getting older and creating pieces that have deep meaning for me than anything. The moon hangs above my bed and the glow in the dark highlights make me so happy. If you would like an ultrasound embroidery or a moon phase let me know. I’m opening up my time to commissions this year to help celebrate other peoples memories.

Say yes in 2020

to workshop opportunities

In 2019 I lead two workshops. One in February was for adults at the pencil room focusing on playing with paint, pen and thread and the different ways to put them together. In October was for kids at the MTG. I learnt a lot from both opportunities and hope to take more workshops in the coming years. I’ve been offered one mid-year so yay for that.

to exhibition opportunities

In Feb I had 8 pieces in a 2 person show at the Rabbit Room. I love being apart of exhibitions. I’m hoping to work towards a solo show in the next few years and I can feel some work coming together in a series for this. Every single time I’ve done an exhibition whether it went well or not I learnt a lot about myself and art practice. One of the hardest things for me to complete is to finish a series of work. So I’m aiming to produce a series of at least 10 pieces this year and make them available for sale regardless of an opportunity to exhibit.

to commissions

I have two different areas this year I’m offering commissions in. House portraits and Ultrasound Embroidery. I’m concentrating on my little stitched homes in the first part of the year. I’ll update my commissions’ page as I work through these ideas.

Thanks for reading, this post isn’t quite finished but I’m going to hit publish so I don’t procrastinate on it anymore!

I hope we all have a great 2020